November 5, 2012

-image-it’s about to getting really interesting or really boring

Now, I understand I’ve neglected my blog this summer and …. now the summer has turned to autumn, etc., and the weeds are growing taller and thicker each day. Lots of reasons. Just life getting in the way.

On top of all that we’ve been busy because we’re moving three weeks from today.

Up to the local mountains.

Yep. We’re about to become rednecks or hippies or hicks or peckerwoods or all of the above. It’s our dream, you see, being peckerwoods.

Well, it IS something MB and I have wanted to do for several years but it’s just never worked out until now. It’s been an interesting confluence of desires that brought this about. We’ve always wanted to try living up there and my parents, who also love the area, were looking for an investment property. So the four of us went house-hunting, a month-long exercise in holding my tongue which met with patchy success at best. Really, after a few weekends of clenched jaws and tight lips, I didn’t think there was any way the four of us would agree on a place since our tastes are quite divergent. But somehow we did. Miraculously, we did. We found a place we all agreed on, my parents made an offer, got an insanely low interest rate, and here were are.

Moving to the mountains.

We’re renting the place from them which I hope (fingers crossed) will be a positive experience. We’ll be living in the biggest place we’ve ever lived in in our whole marriage. I hardly know what to do with that much space and we definitely don’t have enough furniture to fill it all. There will be vast empty spaces begging to be filled — and begging for a long time, I imagine. Those of you who’ve been reading here for long time know we lost our condo four years ago and have been renting a different condo in a less-than-desirable neighborhood since then. It’s been rough. It messes with your head and how you see yourself, those kinds of losses. You move on, but it’s not the same you that moves on. After so much loss and disappointment for so long, you get used to wanting less and less for yourself. Or maybe you get used to expecting less and less for yourself. You erase all desires from your heart and mind and become an accidental Buddhist.

So while this is something we’d wanted and hoped for for a long time, we’re used to wanting and hoping for things that don’t happen. I’m still in a state of shock that it’s actually happening. We’ll be living in a yellow house with a green door nestled among the oaks and pines and quiet.

I’ve always wanted to live in a yellow house with a red door but we can definitely paint the door.

I’m pinching myself.

Well, in between panic attacks.

I don’t know for sure what life will be like up there. It’s a small town. Really small. It’s a tourist trap on weekends. Allow me to paint with a very broad brush here and say the place seems to be populated by both a fair share of right-wing homeschooling Christians and fair share of left-wing hemp-wearing hippies. Honestly, I’m not sure where we’ll fit in on my intolerant little spectrum there. (Narrow-minded town bigots, I guess.) I imagine we’re too hippie for the Christians and too Christian for the hippies, but we’ll have to wait and see. Maybe we’ll have to create our own offshoot of the spectrum and make everyone wonder how to fit into our special branch of things. “Are you a narrow-minded bigot! Come sit by us!”

I know it’s going to be an adjustment. I don’t know how big an adjustment it will be. I can’t know for sure until we’re there.

Oh, here’s the other thing:

For those of you who have read it, this town is the little town mentioned in our Maybe Church saga.

And, yes, “Joe” lives there.

Indeed he does.

As I said, we’ve wanted to do this for a long time, long before we ever set foot in that crazy place and experienced that bizarre scenario. We even shelved the whole idea for a couple of years after leaving because we knew that Joe lived there. But then MB said, “Look. We can’t keep making decisions based on Joe’s comfort level. He doesn’t get to control our lives.”

Still, I was dubious for a long time.

But MB’s right. Joe doesn’t get to influence our decisions anymore, so he didn’t.

We’re moving there despite the fact that he lives there. I’m sure we’ll run into him, his wife, his kids. I have no idea what will happen but I assume they will be as friendly now as they were then. Ahem. MB has declared that when he sees Joe, he’s going to run up to him, give him a huge bear hug, and say with a choke in his voice, “Oh, Joe. Joe! I’m so glad you’re here!”

While I doubt he’ll actually do that, the mental image makes me giggle because it’s so absurd.

So life in this small town? Well, it’s about to get really interesting or really boring.

Stay tuned for tales of angst and woe as we transition to redneck hippies.

Or something.

August 21, 2012

-image-the unaskable question

We were out at breakfast yesterday morning when two forty-something men sat down at the table next to ours. One of them, a rather big-faced fellow, began talking about the TV show The Walking Dead, which MB and I are hooked on, so I began to eavesdrop in earnest. He told his friend how he “didn’t normally watch shows like that” and how it’s about “moral dilemmas and redemption” and, bam, I just knew: Christians. Christians are the only people I know who need to do a CYA for watching certain TV shows and they’re also the only ones I know who use the word redemption in casual conversation. I don’t say this as a judgment at all. I simply say this because I can recognize the language of my people anywhere any time like a Texan could recognize a fellow Texan in the middle of Zimbabwe. The big-faced one talked a lot — about youth concerts at his church, about singing worship songs in a circle, about using real bread for communion. He was very earnest about the things he thought were very radical. The friend nodded in very earnest agreement about these very radical things.

And it was then I knew: I had to ask the question. I had to do it. I don’t know what compels me, something malevolent I’m sure. I waited for MB to leave to pay the bill so I wouldn’t embarrass him too much. The success of our relationship is dependent upon MB evacuating the immediate area — a lot. The waitress brought their order and as she left, there was a natural lull in conversation. My heart was pounding. I’m such a jerk. That thought never seems to stop me, though, so I turned to them and spoke.

“Hi. I’m sorry to interrupt but I couldn’t help overhearing that you’re both Christians?”

They looked a bit startled but recovered quickly. I could have been a non-Christian who needed answers, you know, so they smiled and nodded, a polite veneer.

“Oh, yes. Yes, we are.”

“Okay. Well, I am too –”

“Oh, great, great,” they interrupted, relieved, I guess, there wouldn’t be any hard questions to answer. They had no idea.

“– and I was wondering if I could ask you a spiritual question that’s kind of ……. strange?”

“Uhh … sure …..”

“Okay. Well ….. ” I took a big breath. “Do you think there will be sex in heaven?”

They both fell back into their chairs, walloped at the very thought. Their eyes were saucers.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the little old lady at the table next to them lift her head from her book, eyes blazing with glee, a huge incredulous smile on her face. From that moment on, she blatantly eavesdropped on the rest of our conversation.

I was nervous, so I kept talking — very fast — as is my wont.

“Well, um, I think about this a lot.” Shut up, Tracey. You sound like a pervert. “I mean, it’s something that really interests me. ” OMG, it’s getting worse. “Well, most Christians don’t seem to really think about that, you know? I mean ….. Jesus never actually mentions this so ……..”

Thank God, the big-faced one spoke and put me out of my misery.

“Well ….. hm …… wow. Well, I guess I think there won’t be a need for it because of the presence of God.”

“Okay. That’s interesting. So do you think, then, that heaven is more of a utilitarian place that consists of only things we need?”

“I’ve never thought of it like that.”

“I mean, does God just pare down life to the bare essentials then, like a Motel 6, or does he keep and redeem (there’s that word) the things he originally created or declared good — like sex?”

“Well, I think he redeems things.”

“I agree. Do you think we’ll eat?”

“Yes.”

“Do you think we’ll need to eat?”

“Maybe not.”

“So food but no sex? Then is sex so corrupted that God can’t redeem it?”

“I wouldn’t think so … I guess …..”

The other man spoke.

“I don’t think I’ve spent time contemplating this — ever.”

What a surprise.

He continued.

“I think I’ll just be so full of joy, I won’t even care or think about it.”

I had to laugh.

“Come on. You’re a man.”

He laughed too.

“So do you think you’ll still be a man with …… man parts?”

“Actually, I do.”

“With a physical body?”

“Yes,” they both said.

“So …. gender is intact and physicality is intact, but no one will be allowed to …. uhh …. do anything with it?”

They both laughed this time — a laugh fueled by the unwanted gift of social discomfort I’d brought to their breakfast table, now laden with cold coffee and uneaten pancakes.

“I mean, won’t that be a source of eternal frustration?”

“I don’t …… knnnow,” the other one said.

“Back to your comment about the presence of God, look at the garden of Eden,” I said. “There’s Adam, he’s in perfection, in the very presence of God all the time, and God himself scratches his chin and says it’s not good for Adam to be alone, so he makes Eve. He tweaks his own creation. God decided that even his very presence was not enough for Adam so he made Eve and let them ….. be a man and a women together, to put it delicately. But he made the human one of his own kind. Doesn’t that kind of show that God understands that even in perfection, he is not enough? That humans need other humans and men and women need each other and how does that all play out in heaven?”

This verbal barrage spewed out across their breakfast table at approximately 473 wpm.

Wow. I really am a jerk.

They stared at me. The little old lady was smiling to break her face. MB had been standing by, quietly observing the conversational fray the light of his life had created.

“This is my embarrassed husband,” I said to the men to break all the sacrilegious tension.

“Hello, embarrassed husband,” they laughed. Looks of pity flickered across their faces.

MB just smiled. And I just kept going, a relentless grand inquisitor.

“Tell me honestly. From a male perspective, is a sexless eternity a bummer?”

“Well ……. I suppose ……. I mean, kind of ……. well ….. hm ….. I don’t know what to say …..” they said variously.

The atmosphere around MB had subtly shifted. His body language deemed it was time to go — before I said the word penis and/or vagina to these two hapless hungry strangers.

“Well, thanks for being so nice and answering my questions. I’ll let you get back to your breakfast and your original conversation — which probably wasn’t this, right?”

“No, but this was interesting. Something to think about,” the big-faced fellow said.

“Have a good day.”

“You too.”

Once we were outside, MB finally spoke with a laugh and a shake of his head. “My wife, always the wild card.”

He grabbed my hand with a quiet chuckle and we dissected the entire encounter all the way home.

I can’t help it. I don’t know what compels me.

Something malevolent, I’m sure.

June 30, 2012

-image-he’s a wery wery bad man

ME: You know that kind of haircut I’m talking about? That some women get?
HE: Oh, yeah. The kind of haircut you get to accompany your personal dryness.
ME: I cannot BELIEVE you just said that.

And I then proceeded to guffaw for 10 straight minutes.

We’re basically just horrible people.

June 25, 2012

-image-marital communication

(On a long drive)

HE: So do you wanna go check out that farmer’s market ’cause I don’t.
ME: Uhmmm ……. I have no idea what the right answer is here.
HE: But I’ve always been kind of curious about it.
ME: (melodramatically) I just cannot DEAL with all the mixed signals!!!
HE: Hahaha. Yeah, I’m being a jerk.
ME: I think I’ll just sit here and see what happens.
HE: Okay.
ME: Who knows? Maybe I’ll get a better offer.
HE: Maybe. Though we are just sitting in our car.
ME: Piece of advice: When I’m dead and gone and you’re asking the chicas out again, don’t use that method. It seriously sucks. Like “Wanna go to prom ’cause I don’t.” What the heck is that? You’re a little rusty, peaches.
HE: True.
ME: I blame myself. I’ve made it too easy for you. I need to start playing hard to get.
HE: Okay. That’ll be fun.
ME: We’ll see.

May 17, 2012

-image-random snippets

HE: ‘Hamburger sandwich,” indeed.
ME: Look at you, all mad at Ayn Rand. About hamburgers.
HE: “Hamburger sandwich,” indeed.

****************

FEMALE FRIEND 1: See, I don’t have a lot of …….uhm ….. (motioning to herself) … uhm …….
FRIEND 2: Clothes?
FRIEND 3: Outfits?
MB: Put-ey on-eys?

***************

HE (admiring the cuffs on his shirt): Wow! The stitching on these is really nice!
ME: (Silent, agog.)
HE: Annnd this is where you’re thinking, “I just love my big gay husband.”

***************

HE: Wow. They’re pretty busy for a Monday.
ME: You mean Thursday?
HE: Whatever.
ME: You’re so pretty.

***************

ME (alarmed): What’s that outfit??
HE: I call it binge-wear.
ME: I seee …….

***************
Text from a friend:

I’d like to smack someone in this company and I’m not particular about who it is either.

May 5, 2012

-image-banshee and uncle

Banshee Girl loves her Uncle Beloved. Look how wee she is compared to him. Tugs at my shriveled little heart, it does.

kbkp42812.jpg

March 17, 2012

-image-just now

ME: Hm. I was hoping for more comment from you on that.
HE: Huh??
ME: I said, “I was hoping for more comment from you on that” and you said “Huh??”

February 2, 2012

-image-happy anniversary, my beloved

Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Hear Ye

On Gobbler’s Knob on this magnificent Groundhog Day, February 2nd, 2012,
Punxsutawney Phil, the Seer of Seers
the Prognosticator of all Prognosticators
was summoned from his burrow in the old oak stump.

He greeted his handlers, and after casting an appreciative glance
towards thousands of his faithful followers,
Phil proclaimed:

As I look at the crowd on Gobbler’s Knob
Many shadows do I see
So six more weeks of marriage — which is just an approximation, obviously — it must be!

But let’s go for the record, okay?

T.

January 30, 2012

-image-random snippets

(Walking past a store window we regularly walk by, MB is looking at himself. I bust him as I frequently like to do.)

ME: Good Lord. You can’t get enough of you.
HE: It was just a glance!
ME: (as I am fixing my hair whilst, yes, glancing in the car window): Yeah. A loving glance.
HE: This from the woman who just looked at herself in the car window!
ME: Ohh. Well. That was a critical glance. Yours are like mmmmm ….. yummmmy …..
HE: Oh, brother.
ME: It’s true!
HE: Well, I guess I just like to be a celebrant.

_____________________

(After finally finishing all the leftovers and frozen leftovers from the 20-pound ham that he — the ham-aholic — purchased during the holidays for, you know, the two of us.)

HE (in all seriousness): I’m really starting to miss the ham and beans. It was a part of our lives for so long.

____________________

HE: Okay. Here is a list of the worst places in America.
ME: Oooh, really? Okay. Good. Let’s hear it.
HE: Okay. Rite-Aid ……. CVS drugstores ….. Denny’s …… any kind of Coco’s ……
ME: Wait. You said “places.” These are businesses.
HE: Oh, they’re places. They’re places!
ME: Wow. You feel strongly about this.
HE: I do!
ME: So those four?
HE: Yep. Worst places in America.
ME: But “Any kind of Coco’s”? Aren’t they all the same?
HE (in a fury of disgust): Any kind of Coco’s!!!!!

_____________________
So we’re at a Coco’s with my parents after a really strange Christmas program at their megachurch, celebrating the birth of baby Jesus with a dancing Frosty the Snowman and a sad-sack Henry Wadsworth Longfellow miming depression. Surreal.

MB wants to kill himself. My parents want pie. Dad likes to save money.

DAD (to waiter): Okay. Give us a whole blueberry pie and cut it into five pieces.
WAITER: Okay.
DAD: Put the last piece in a box and we’ll take it home.
WAITER: All right.
DAD: We all want ice cream, so put ice cream on the other four pieces.
WAITER: Got it. Okay.

He walks away. Long pause.

ME: How do you cut a pie into five pieces?

Even longer pause as the other three just stare at me, open-mouthed, gobsmacked.

And, honestly, pippa, I still struggle with this question.

December 31, 2011

-image-a new year’s picture book

Some or all may or may not be fictionalized.

us3cropb.jpg
HE: Come, my goddess. Let me take your photo first thing in the morning on the last day of the old year. ME: What?? I’m half asleep, you wanker. HE: Smile! ME: Bleh.

uscrop2.jpg
HE: Now let us appear bland and normal. ME: Don’t forget washed out. HE: Yes, that too, my goddess. ME: Look at us. “Please can we come to your church? We are bland and normal and harmless.” HE: Don’t forget washed out. ME: Shut up.

uscrop4.jpg
HE: Now let one of us appear friendly while the other appears demented. ME: Okay. Which is which? HE: Photos don’t lie, my goddess.

uscrop.jpg
ME: Okay. NOW let one of us grab the other’s fancy bits whilst whispering not-suitable-for-church nothings. HE: I have no problem with that. ME: Uhm, what does this have to do with New Year’s? HE: Nothing. ME: Oh, okay. I thought this all had a purpose. HE: Nope. ME: Good. Purpose is overrated. HE: You are so right, my goddess, but Happy New Year anyway. ME: Yes. God bless us, every one! HE: That’s for Christmas, isn’t it? ME: It’s for whenever. Blessings are for whenever. HE: Okay. Calm down, Tiny Tim. ME: Calm is overrated! HE: (Sigh.) Should we end this post? ME: I don’t care. I guess so. HE: Okay. ME: Okay.

Clearly, I didn’t plan this out at all since it all went nowhere fast, but Happy New Year, pippa, and God bless us, every one.

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